A lengthy free agency for Matt Wieters has reportedly come to a close, as Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Washington Nationals are closing in on a major-league deal with the veteran backstop.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post takes the report further, reporting that the deal is for two years with a player opt-out.
It is currently unclear how much the deal will be valued. The player opt-out will more than likely be in play following the 2017 season.
Wieters, a long-time catcher for the Baltimore Orioles, was supposed to hit free agency last off-season, but he accepted the Orioles' one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer, becoming one of the first to ever do so. Plagued by injuries in previous seasons, including Tommy John surgery in 2014, Wieters was an All-Star in 2016, slashing .243/.302/.409, with 17 home runs and 66 runs batted in. Wieters walked 32 times and struck out only 85 times in 464 plate appearances during the season.
Most of the industry knew that the Nationals would potentially land Wieters, with the Tampa Bay Rays being among other serious suitors. The Rays reportedly extended a contract offer to Wieters just last week.
The signing of Wieters would give the Nationals a catching surplus, as Wieters would join Derek Norris, Jose Lobaton, and Pedro Severino behind the plate. This gives the Nationals a significant boost in their search for a closer, as it gives the team a greater chance to deal Norris, Lobaton, and Severino as they pursue David Robertson and Alex Colome. However, it is unclear if the team will pursue a closer, as the team likens Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen, and Koda Glover to be the team's closer in 2017.